2017-07-13 / Opinions

Guest VIEWpoint

How do you feel about change?

By Laura Janks Program Coordinator Community Connections By Laura Janks Program Coordinator Community Connections We all experience change on a regular basis, sometime our changes are voluntary, while other times we are left stuck between a rock and a hard place, and change is the better of those two options.

As Heraclitus said “The only thing that is Constant is Change.”

Psychology shows that the more resources an individual has the easier it is for that person to change, likewise, the fewer resources a person has, the harder it is for that person to make a successful change.

Let’s look at Jane, a single mother of two, who works part time at a convenience store. She struggles financially and knows this isn’t how she wants to live the rest of her life. She wants to raise her children in a home with stability and structure. Jane wishes she could take her kids on vacation, but keeping up with the bills is a challenge in itself. Jane knows change is the only way to make her life better.

Typically there are five stages to change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance.

Pre-contemplation is before we think we need to make a change. Perhaps going back to school is not financially possible, so Jane doesn’t look to see what training certificates are offered.

Next, is contemplation. In this stage we weigh the pros and cons and reflect on how it will personally affect us. If Jane goes to school she will have less free time, but in the long run she may be able to get a job with better hours. What will Jane’s friends think of her if she applies for assistance? Will bettering herself make her family jealous or proud? It is this stage of change that often takes people the longest to work through.

Once our mind is made up we move to preparation. This stage is a transition, small steps toward a larger goal. It is in this stage that Jane looks at what programs are available, she looks into programs that may help with costs, and she starts to figure out who will watch her children while she is in class. Jane is quiet about her goals in this stage because she does not know if it will work out in the end.

As Jane finishes prepping, she moves into the action stage. When in the action stage we start to make changes, our actions may be shaky at first but we become more confident as we see success. Jane has decided what program she wants to pursue, she talks to her boss and they work with her class schedule. Jane asked her mom to watch her children while she is in class, but she was not supportive of her decision to go to school. This was a road bump for Jane, and left her feeling unsure of her decision. After reviewing her “why” and her ultimate goals, she decided to ask a friend to watch her children. Her friend agreed, and Jane started classes to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Lastly, we enter the maintenance and relapse prevention stage. This stage is all about adjusting your plans and doing what you need to do to maintain the changes you have worked so hard to make. Jane is enjoying her classes, and only has a few weeks left. She worked with her boss to adjust her schedule once more, and she cancelled her TV subscription to save money so that she could afford to hire a babysitter one day a week.

Jane experienced all five of the stages of change. Through hard work and persistence she earned her CNA certificate. She was able to obtain full time employment at the local hospital and is earning much more than she did at her old part time job. She is able to pay her bills on time, and has started a small emergency fund.

Limited finances and social supports made change difficult for Jane, but she knew something had to change and used this as inspiration to meet her goals.

All of us go through the five stages of change, even when we are working toward different goals. If you were inspired by Jane and her desire to change, come into Community Connections located at 729 Trescott St. in Harbor Beach. We can help you apply for services to meet basic needs, find education and employment opportunities, and more. Staff is available Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help you makes changes, connect to resources and help you meet your goals.

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